Science Daily, November 9, 2004


Turf burns and cosmetic body shaving were responsible for the spread of a bacterial skin infection among players on a college football team, according to an article in the November 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Researchers found that 10 percent of players on a Connecticut college football team had MRSA skin infections, for which two were hospitalized. Cornerbacks and wide receivers, who frequently come into direct contact with other players, accounted for the most MRSA cases. Even minor damage to the skin greatly increased players’ risk of contracting MRSA. The athletes who practiced cosmetic body shaving had a 43 percent risk of infection. Those who sustained turf burns during play were seven times more likely than their teammates to contract MRSA. Players sharing inadequately disinfected whirlpools may have also contributed to the MRSA spread.

Turf burns may not be entirely preventable, but athletes should take note when they happen, said Dr. Begier. “When they have these large abrasions during game play they should stop and have them cleaned and covered” to reduce the risk of contracting MRSA or transmitting it to other players, she said.